Article by Kurt Bopp, The Sentinel
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MECHANICSBURG — Twice Trinity’s Jenna Barone came to the plate with runners on second and third. Twice she delivered.
In the first she doubled to drive both in, but it was her ninth-inning triple that sent the Shamrocks to the win. She ended up as the game-winning run in a thrilling 9-7 Trinity win over Mechanicsburg Saturday afternoon at Filbert Elementary School.
Barone’s triple put the Shamrocks up by a pair, but her run scored off Christina Colangelo’s single proved the difference as the Wildcats’ ninth-inning rally came up just short.
“We beat ourselves; we didn’t get the key hits and left too many runners in scoring position,” Mechanicsburg coach Gail Hiestand said.
The Wildcats (4-4) held a slim one-run lead heading into the top of the seventh, but Trinity’s Amanda Knaub hit an RBI single to drive in Erin Pfeffer for the tying score with one down. Ashley Baldwin scored on a bases-loaded walk for the one-run lead going into the bottom of the frame.
With the script reversed and them needing the tying run in the seventh, the Wildcats (4-4) got a leadoff single from Kristie Shay, who advanced on a bunt and a wild pitch. Erica Molovich drilled a deep sac fly to left to score Shay to tie it at 5, but Trinity ace Baldwin got out of the inning to force extras.
After a quick eighth inning with three-up, three-down for both sides, Trinity (5-3) got the most out of its lineup. Baldwin was hit by a pitch, then stole second. Knaub singled and stole second for runners on second and third with Barone up.
She drove a triple to the right-center gap for the two-run advantage. She finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and 4 RBIs on the day. She was later walked in, as well as Colangelo for the four-run lead heading into the bottom of the ninth.
“They’re very resilient. Good camaraderie,” Trinity coach Robert Knaub said. “I’m very pleased. That was a big one for us.”
The Wildcats didn’t go quietly as the top of the order came up. With one down, Shay reached on an error and later advanced on Molovich’s walk and a wild pitch. Each scored on back-to-back RBI-singles by Morgan Minter and Rachel Deveney. But Baldwin induced a groundout to end the rally and game at 9-7.
Baldwin went the distance on the mound and finished with 11 strikeouts and five walks with seven earned runs allowed on 10 hits.
“(Baldwin) is very strong and used to throwing a lot of innings,” Knaub said. “She’s very resilient.”
Erica Smiley, of the Wildcats, came in to pitch in relief and threw six innings for five strikeouts and four walks in the loss.
Trinity started things off with a 3-0 lead as the top of the order reached base in the first, with one scoring off Knaub’s RBI-double. Barone plated the other two with a double of her own for an early 3-0 lead. Knaub finished 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored and 2 RBIs.
For the Wildcats, Shay went 1-for-4 with three runs scored. Amber Schuman went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs. Mechanicsburg got all seven of their runs with two outs.
Hiestand was happy her team could deliver with two down, but overall frustrated by the offense’s lack of timely hitting when they need it most. The Wildcats also committed three errors.
Mechanicsburg plays at Cedar Cliff Monday.
“The sign of a good team is how you bounce back after a tough loss,” Hiestand said. “That was a tough loss so we’ll see Monday.”
The Shamrocks host Susquenita Tuesday, and Knaub said the Blackhawks are “the best team in the area.”
The win only boosts his squad’s confidence going into Tuesday’s showdown.
“It was a rough week with a loss in extras,” Knaub said. “So it was really nice to get this one.”